Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons women’s volleyball manages wild comeback in fifth set to outlast Mekeel Christian

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SCHENECTADY – Even before her side finished their long comeback after losing 11 points in the fifth set on Wednesday night against Mekeel Christian Academy, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons second-year forward Julia Jaworowski was confident.

She could feel the wind turning.

“I knew we were going to get by,” Jaworowski said. “We have a chemistry that no one really has. We just know we have it.

In a checkered Western Athletic Conference women’s volleyball match, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons left a huge hole in the deciding fifth set.

Down 11 points, it was Julia Jaworowski’s older sister Victoria who pulled the Knights off the mat with a streak of seven straight serve points to turn the tide.

Then it was younger sister Jaworowski’s turn to stand out, realizing 11 of her 24 kills in the deciding set as Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons walked away with an exciting and grueling 30-28, 22-25, 16-25, 25-16, 26-24 win.

“We’re all here screaming,” Julia Jaworowski said. “We will enter tomorrow speechless. “

Victoria Jaworowski added 32 serve points – including five aces – and three blocks for Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (3-0 WAC, 4-0 overall), while senior passer Kathryn Braun racked up 31 digs and 28 assists. .

“Kathryn, he’s my personal hype man,” Julia Jaworowski said. “She’s there for me, she knows where I want the ball and knows everything about him. When I have a kill, it’s me and Kathryn who do it.

The teams had played five sets when they met at Mekeel Christian during the ‘Fall II’ season last spring, and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons coach Bob Verhayden knew another long night was over. possible Wednesday.

“I was pretty confident we were going to play five again tonight,” said Verhayden.

In a game full of twists and turns, both teams ran extended runs to shift the momentum in their favor.

After a wild first set, Mekeel Christian (3-1, 4-1) appeared to take control when he stopped the tide of a Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons run in the second set to tie the game, then passed. to the edge of victory with a convincing victory in the third set.

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons jumped up in the fourth to force a winning fifth set, but when Mekeel Christian took the lead 10-2, 19-8, it looked like the Knights might have spent all their energy just getting to the fifth.

“I was hoping they were going to find something,” Verhayden said. “It was a racing game.”

Instead, Victoria Jaworowski’s serve completely changed the complexion of the match, with a fiery Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons team responding as Mekeel Christian felt the effects of both the scorching gym and the eccentric ceiling that helped cost the Lions a pair of points. during the race when seemingly trivial passes took off from a low gangway.

“It’s part of the home advantage here. We always know you’re going to lose three or four points on that podium in every game, ”said Mekeel Christian coach Kevin Islip. “It just takes you out of the game. . . We’re not used to playing in the heat like this, our girls got a little depressed and you could see they weren’t quite as they should be.

Mekeel Christian was led by 12 kills from Amelia Armao, nine aces from Rose Seredensky and 31 assists from Chloe Ekstein.

Julia Jaworowski was confident throughout the run, knowing who was on the service line for the Knights.

“I kept thinking, ‘This is my sister’,” she said. “She’s my amazing sister.”

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons eventually tied the score at 20-20, and while Mekeel Christian twice pushed the match point back to keep things going, Julia Jaworowski’s 24th and final kill of the night finally punctuated the marathon match.

“If she gets her set and she goes down a hill,” said Verhayden, “she’s hard to stop.”

Define the scores: 30-28, 22-25, 16-25, 25-16, 26-24. Mekeel strengths: Armao, 12 wins; Ekstein, 31 assists; Seredensky, 9 aces. Strengths of ND-BG: J. Jaworowski, 24 murders; V. Jaworowski, 32 service points, 5 aces, 3 blocks; Braun, 28 assists, 31 recoveries.

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